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Milwaukee DA Needs More Time to Sort Through Fatal Police Shooting

Dontre - Never Forget, Facebook

The DA's office told the family of Dontre Hamilton Tuesday evening that it needs another month to decide whether to file charges against an officer.

He shot Hamilton 14 times at downtown Red Arrow Park, in April, killing him. According to the officer's account, he was acting in self-defense. He says the 31-year-old became combative during a pat down, grabbed the officer's baton and struck him, after people in the park had summoned police - concerned about Hamilton's behavior.

Hamilton's family says he was unarmed and had not been doing anything illegal.

District Attorney John Chisholm summoned the family to his office late Tuesday, to provide an update on the investigation. He told them he needs several more weeks to review the case and seek expert advice, according to family Attorney Jonathan Safran. He spoke on its behalf, after the meeting.

"It is hard to put into words the turmoil and emotions that this family is going through right now. They are distraught, to describe it at best. We had a short meeting with the district attorney today. He has advised the family and us that, at this point, he is not ready to make a decision.

"He's indicated that he believes that he needs to have an outside independent investigation done, as far as the use of force by this office. he indicates that he has  located and identified that agency, and that it might take them up to a month to do this investigation.

"We have expressed the concern, that that is just way too long for this investigation to continue and way too long for this family to have to deal with not knowing the results. We have asked him and pleaded with him, to try to do anything he can, to make this process go much faster. He's told us that he will try to do that," Safran said.

Safran went on, saying that the DA has "indicated to us that there is an assortment of potential criminal charges that he would evaluate and again, that is his decision to make a criminal evaluation and determination. He is concerned about the number of shots that were fired, but he also believes that there is evidence, obviously, that a baton was used and in his mind, he needs to get more clarification about any potential injuries, but more importantly, he wants to have that use of force valuation done."

Hamilton's family has also been demanding to know the identity of the officer involved.  

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